As Americans continue to argue about anthem protests, let’s not forget who started this week’s controversy. It wasn’t Kaepernick or anyone associated with the NFL. It wasn’t the left or the right. It wasn’t the media.
One man is responsible for all the ire of the last week…
Donald J Trump.
Trump, and TRUMP ALONE, is responsible for the vitriol, the anger, the division.
A question we should ALL be asking right now is why?
Why did Trump choose to bring up Colin Kaepernick, anthem protests, and the NFL at a campaign rally? To rile his base into a nationalist frenzy? Sure. That’s one thing he’s exceptionally good at.
But Kaepernick isn’t even playing in the NFL right now. And he said in March that he wouldn’t continue the protest this year (http://bit.ly/2ft8QEs).
Very few people in the mainstream were even talking about the protest. In fact, the only ones still talking about it were those of us who support the protest and believe Kaepernick has been effectively blackballed by the NFL because of it. Ironically, there was already a call to boycott the NFL. Not because of the protests, but because of the apparent blackballing.
So why bring Kaepernick up at all?
Even IF Trump felt that Kaepernick’s protest was the best vehicle for riling the base (I mean, he was in Alabama, after all) he could’ve done so without using the incendiary language which all but forced coaches, owners, and more players to defend the protest – or at least, stand in unity against Trump’s “son-of-a-bitch” comment.
He knows that as long as we’re fighting with each other, we aren’t paying attention to all the other information that’s been dropping the last couple of weeks.
From what is he trying to distract us?
Below are just a few of the possibilities:
The fact that indictments are likely for two of his closest advisers, Flynn and Manafort? http://politi.co/2xJscz7
That Manafort offered private briefings to a Russian billionaire during the campaign? http://lat.ms/2xG1FkK
That Russian-American money flowed to Trump’s campaign? http://abcn.ws/2hzj2zS
That multi-millionaires Price, Pruitt, and Mnuchin have squandered taxpayer money on private flights for themselves? http://lat.ms/2xOrIse [Updated, October 1 to include Zinke and Shulkin: http://bit.ly/2yicJaU]
These are just some of the latest revelations and most Americans probably haven’t even noticed them because they’re too focused on who is standing – or not – for the anthem at football games.
Whatever the reason for the enormous distraction, let’s be clear on who is to blame for this week’s controversy.
The responsibility – and the blame – lie squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump.
Never stop asking why. And never allow yourself to get distracted.
Footnote: I have always supported Kaepernick’s protest and I will always support those who stand up for the ones who have no voice. Whether anthem protests continue or not, the reasons behind them will not go away until white Americans listen with open hearts to the true reasons for the protests: police brutality, systemic racism, and inequality. This is a conversation that is imperative for us to have until these issues are solved. And until we have an honest conversation about it, the voices and protests will only grow louder.